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How are your productivity tools different than they were 10 years ago?

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  • How are your productivity tools different than they were 10 years ago?

    To all GTDers out there---

    How are your productivity tools different than they were 10 years ago?

    What is essential now that you didn't even use a decade ago? What is obsolete that was essential back then? What's still about the same?

  • #2
    Paper and Palm. Wireless Internet.

    Paper is the same (or maybe a little more moleskinesque).

    Palm PDAs have ceased to exist.

    Ubiquitous information access (wireless and 3G Internet) is the most important change.


    • #3
      Originally posted by kelstarrising View Post
      How are your productivity tools different than they were 10 years ago?

      What is essential now that you didn't even use a decade ago? What is obsolete that was essential back then? What's still about the same?
      Surprisingly tough question to answer for me. Because in many cases I am doing most of the same stuff and in some cases my data is still intact from 10 years ago but the actual devices or operating systems have changed.

      10 years ago my handheld was a Palm OS Handspring Visor. I kept my to do lists, contacts & calendar on that device and carried a separate small simple cell phone. Collecting stuff was whatever scraps of paper I had available. Many things got lost in the cracks and I often didn't know exactly what I had committed to. However my calendar and reminder system worked extremely well. Most of my projects were paper based but I had very little handheld support for getting the projects finished.

      Today my handheld is an iPod Touch. Palm OS is dead and I lament its demise. It's still far and away the best calendar and reminder system I've ever had but I've moved to the inferior iCal for ease of data entry and because I can get reports and stuff out of it easily. I still carry a phone, mine is a Palm Treo but I am not using any of its smartphone features at this time. Collection is now codified into a small 3 x 5 spiral notebook and I have added a small digital camera. So I've actually added devices not gotten fewer. If Sprint ever gets the iPhone then I'll dump the treo and iPod and get back down to only 2.

      What is essential now is Omnifocus. On both my Mac and iPod I can't imagine managing all my projects as easily with so little stress without it without this tool. Project management is handled almost entirely with OF plus some paper backups and support materials. I have a more compete picture of the projects I am working on in my handheld device and use far less paper backup.

      The actual SW I use for general electronic notes has evolved but the data are the same and my use is the same, Right now I am using DEVONThink. 10 Years ago I was using Palm Memos. I am carrying a bit more data in my handheld now than then because memory in the devices is larger but the usage is the same, all sorts of tidbits I may need to access at any time.

      Another essential device that didn't exist 10 years ago is my kindle reader. It's not strictly productivity but I cannot imagine not having some sort of e-reader now that I've owned one for 3 years. I am still running on my old original first generation kindle.


      • #4
        The switch from cellphone to smartphone is one of my biggest changes.

        Even if this were just via syncing at home, without mobile data access, this would be a vast change.

        The combination of Email, Calendar and Contacts on-the-go is very powerful and you can invent new processes based around email as a list-manager, document-reader, note-taker, etc.
        Last edited by pxt; 07-20-2011, 07:30 AM.


        • #5

          How could I live without my iPad?? Using Omnifocus for the iPad now and so far so good.


          • #6
            Another change regarding Email-Contacts-Calendars has been the consolidation around standards.

            As an early Hotmail user, my data was always held hostage by You-Know-Who, so I was reluctant to keep much of importance in there.

            Now with IMAP, CalDAV, etc being so commonly used, by both client software and server services, I can suck my data out into an online service like gmail, switch client hardware from PC to Mac, backup my data on the client, then switch client software from Apple's to a third party's, then switch gmail to MobileMe, then switch hardware from Mac to Linux, then server from MobileMe to Yahoo and then hardware from Linux back to PC.

            Standards improve ownership of our data and, therefore, boost the trust needed as a key element of a GTD system.
            Last edited by pxt; 07-20-2011, 08:01 AM.


            • #7
              New 'essentials':
              • smartphone (Android or Apple)
              • 'cloud' email & task manager
              No longer required: special paper plannner, separate 'PDA'

              2001 -> 2011
              System: Franklin Covey -> GTD
              Phone: Nokia 6310 -> Motorola Defy (Android)
              PDA: iPAQ 3xxx -> Defy + PocketInformant
              Capture: Franklin Covey Planner -> Small notepad & pen or email (home)
              -> Microsoft OneNote (work)
              Calendar: Outlook (work) -> Notes (work), Google (home)
              Tasks: Outlook (work) -> Toodledo (work + home)
              Email: Outlook (work), OzEmail (home) -> Notes (work), Google (home)
              Reading: Pieces of dead tree -> Sony PRS-650

              Biggest changes for me:
              - convergence and synchronisation of phone, calendar, action lists, contacts
              - email, contacts, actions available on any computer
              - laptops at work and home, but use them less frequently 'mobile'

              Things I'd still like to see:
              - smartphone with extendable screen for reading + keyboard for typing (maybe one of those laser ones)
              - my slightly backward employer allowing corporate email on personal devices (with appropriate security) and to synchronise my phone with OneNote
              Last edited by PaulK; 07-20-2011, 10:05 AM. Reason: formatting


              • #8
                More eletronic:

                An Android Smartphone
                A cloud web site: Toodledo

                At that time I used a paper diary, not yet GTD, an Access database, a desktop, paper notes pad, not yet a Moleskine....and I was ten years younger!


                • #9

                  Originally posted by Barb View Post
                  How could I live without my iPad?? Using Omnifocus for the iPad now and so far so good.
                  Hi Barb, would be keen to hear more about how you are using OF on the iPad. I have it but am struggling to make it my default Information manager.
                  That is of course if I am allowed to discuss that on the GTD forum.



                  • #10
                    Agree with TesTeq

                    By far, the biggest difference for me is having a smartphone and using it as a productivity tool. Ten years ago, I worked on paper only and didn't even own a cellphone.

                    For what it's worth, back then I did not yet know of GTD and so my fumbling attempts at organization consisted of spiral-bound index cards or any of the free promotional student-type planners. None of them worked especially well.

                    Prior to that I had tried to use Franklin-Covey planners. I remember seeing lots of people carrying those. For a while they seemed to almost be a symbol of status for the aspiring success-elite. The planner, while okay at the time, would be an epic failure today at trying to keep up with the speed and dependability I require of my system.


                    • #11
                      Ten years ago I was a slave to my office machines, I had to have my scanner, fax, PC, phone and printer. Now almost everything I need is attached to my smartphone including my internet fax service which also serves as my scanner. The only downside is now I have no excuse to ever miss a call, fax or email.


                      • #12
                        Really, I think the big story is the internet and its ubiquitous availability.
                        This has made radical simplification of hardware possible. My essential
                        hardware is now

                        mac laptop and mac desktop at work
                        2 large + 3 small paper notebooks (circa or equivalent)
                        smallest moleskine pocket notebook, with tear-out sheets
                        Pilot G-2 pens

                        I have the Davidco folders and notetaker wallet, but don't use them routinely anymore.
                        Paper is not quite gone from my life, but pretty transient.

                        Software is a different issue. For productivity, I use ical, omnifocus, address book and evernote.
                        In many ways not so different from the palm, but tremendously more effective.
                        On the other hand, the day planner is gone forever, and good riddance- it never worked that well for me.


                        • #13
                          Eset Vs Microsoft Security Essentials

                          A vast range of productivity tools are available today than what was in the market 10 years ago. Depending on my own requirement and suitability I can always choose. Moreover, I can always upgrade to the next version whenever the need arises.